…on topic of same-sex marriage
In September, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe created quite a stir when he wrote an expletive-laden letter to Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. The letter expressed Kluwe’s anger at Burns for writing a letter to the Baltimore Ravens ownership demanding that they silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo who has been an outspoken marriage equality advocate.
In his letter to Burns, Kluwe expressed several reasons why he was opposed to Burns’ letter to the Baltimore Ravens ownership. Kluwe took particular opposition to Burns’ statement that Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayambadejo is doing.”
In response to this statement, Kluwe wrote, “I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage, so you can take your ‘I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing’ and shove it in your closed-minded, totally-lacking-in-empathy pie hole.”
After receiving Burns’ letter, the Ravens released a statement saying, “We support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the first amendment.”
Since writing this letter, Kluwe has received national attention. He has been interviewed on The Ed Show, CNN, NBC News, profiled in Sports Illustrated and has made many promotional appearances to help defeat the proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution, which would ban same-sex marriage.
On Oct. 29, Kluwe headlined a Vote No rally held at the University of Minnesota. Head Coach for the Minnesota Lynx, Cheryl Reeve also spoke at the rally, along with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
Kluwe is straight, and has a brother in-law who is gay. Kluwe told the crowd that he was happily married to his wife, has two daughters, and “there is absolutely no reason that same sex marriage will affect us in any way, shape, or form.”
“[Opposing the ban on same-sex marriage] is an issue of freedom, and it’s an issue of equality. It’s an issue of treating other people the way that you want to be treated. Citizens who pay taxes, who serve in our military, should not be denied marital benefits by law. That’s discrimination. As a nation we are built on inclusion, we are not built on exclusion. Our statute of liberty says ‘bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.’ It does not say, ‘stay out gays.’ It does not say, ‘Stay out Jews or stay out Muslims.’ That’s not what America is about. America was built on bringing together a wide variety of people, and treating them all as American citizens,” Kluwe said at the rally.
Kluwe’s rise to national visibility has coincided with a noticeable decline in his performance as a punter. Naturally, many have criticized him saying that he is so focused on his political activism that he is neglecting to adequately do the job he is paid to do. The Vikings have worked out free agent punter Brian Stahovich this past week, supposedly in an attempt to send a message to Kluwe that his job as a punter comes first.
Kluwe said that although he reads all the tweets that are sent to him, he tries to ignore the ones that criticize him for putting too much focus on campaigning against the marriage amendment and not enough focus on punting.
“The funny thing is, if you look at that argument, the basic foundation of that argument is, ‘Why don’t you worry more about a children’s game than basic human rights?’ Yeah, I’m generally going to go with basic human rights on that issue,” Kluwe recently told the Pioneer Press.